Matt Haig’s Latest Is a Darkly Comic Novel About “Humans”

In his first person account of his mission to Earth, one alien delivers hilarious and thought-provoking observations of humans. He assumes the form of professor Andrew Martin of Cambridge College, a skilled mathematician who has just solved the Riemann hypothesis. But this breakthrough—involving prime numbers—is too powerful for humans to handle and this alien must delete all knowledge of Martin’s proof (which includes killing Martin’s family).

cvr9781476727912_9781476727912_hr.JPGMatt Haig’s novel The Humans is darkly funny, exposing many of the flaws of humans, while also, ultimately, celebrating what makes humans great (although this poignant revelation is a little heavy handed). It’s a fine line to walk without being actually upsetting to we humans who read it. But it packs in so many absurdities that it reads like a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

I’m unfamiliar with Haig’s other popular novels—the Hamlet retread The Dead Fathers Club or the vampiric novel The Radleys—but if his crisp writing is consistent in those then I’m very eager to jump right into those books as well. He has an easy, addictive rhythm in The Humans that’s exemplified by short chapters that tell complete thoughts and keep the pacing moving along at a breezy speed. This is a truly delightful read for a lazy afternoon.

 

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  1. My Year in Books (2013) | The JK Review

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